As you’re planning your career break, you’re probably focused on how much your going to spend once you’re on the road. Well, a good way to minimize your on-the-road spend is to maximize this part of the budget. It’s not practical or desirable to buy everything now that you ¨might¨ need. After all, if you’re like me and had never backpacked before, you kind of need to get out there to see how you really will be traveling to know what you really need.
Having said that, there are a number of things that you should go ahead and buy now while you still have a job and are still drawing a salary. And, this is the time to be thinking about some of your other needs on the road like getting the right credit cards and bank accounts. Don’t forget to check out my post about the 5 most important things to do before you quit. And, there is also a good resource I recommend for helping you negotiate your career break if you want to return to your same employer.
Factors in Determining Part 1 of Your Career Break Budget
As you start creating this part of your career break budget, there are three factors you need to consider in determining how much you will need.
- Time between quitting your job and leaving. Some people leave mere weeks after they quit. Others want a little more time. Whatever your timeframe, it’s best to set your daily budget high. Said another way, for budgeting and savings purposes, assume you need as much to live as you did while you still had a job. If you can economize a bit during this period, then you’ll have a nice windfall for your trip or for your reentry period.
- How much gear do you need for your trip? Do you already have a backpack? Do you already have the basic gear? Or are you starting from scratch? The more you’ve traveled before, in theory, the less you need to spend. Then again, you may be tempted to replace some of your gear, just because.
- How much spending can you stuff into this phase? Some of the items on the checklists in this phase and the next phase are interchangeable depending on your preferences. For example, are you buying a full RTW ticket or is your goal to get to your first destination and take it from there? The more you stuff into this phase means the less you need for your on-the-road travel budget. But, you may find that approach unnecessary preferring to take a wait-and-see attitude to see if you really need everything on your list.
Budget Categories For Your Pre-Takeoff Budget
This is a starter list to help you get organized. What you spend and how much you need all depends on your circumstances. My goal here is to get you started and get the brainstorming juices going.
- Clothing: pants, wool socks, hiking boots, flip flops, things you can layer. Side note: think breathable and quick drying fabrics as much as possible
- Gear: backpack, headlamp, travel towel, water bottle, sports watch (I actually stopped wearing a watch while traveling, but I know a lot of people that liked to have one still)
- Electronics: laptop/netbook, iPod, unlocked cell phone, ereader/tablet
- Travel stuff: Tickets, hostel membership, tours, Visa fees, guides, airport lounge memberships, big trip/tour you want to plan around
- Health items: Shots, doctor and dental visits, glasses, contacts, COBRA (for US residents), travel health insurance,small first aid kit,/supplies, medicines
- Finances: Setting up/updating your will, trust, credit cards, debit cards
- Entertainment: Books, music, TV and movies
- Home: Mortgage/rent, utilities, insurance, food, etc
If I missed something, or you have questions, let me know in the comments below.